The Michigan Wolverines went through a season to forget during the 2020 pandemic-altered slate of games, which precipitated change across the board. They are now being looked at by CBS Sports as one of the top 25 teams in the country coming out of spring football.
CBS Sports’ Chip Patterson has Michigan as the 22nd-ranked team in the country after the conclusion of spring practices. They are among a trio of Big Ten teams that struggled last year that he believes will rebound in 2021.
It seems like a big bounce-back is expected from Big Ten teams like Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan. Of the trio, only Wisconsin (4-3) finished the season with a winning record, though all three faced unique challenges due to the circumstances of the season. The additions of Ohio State, Iowa and Indiana — all teams that did fare well last season — give the Big Ten six teams in our post-spring top 25, the most of any conference.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh was given an incentive-laden extension with his contract status up in the air after last season. This lit a fire under the program that saw Harbaugh swap out all but one of his defensive assistants, shuffle a few spots on the offensive side of the ball and revamp the recruiting staff. Michigan and Harbaugh are hoping that this hard reset will set a foundation to get back to competing for Big Ten Championships.
A full spring football slate and fall camp, along with a schedule that is known and unlikely to be altered, could go a long way in proving that last year was an outlier.